Gov’t funds sought for co-op housing members

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHF Canada) is seeking funding from the federal government to provide rental assistance to low-income households in federally-funded housing co-ops. Through a campaign called “You Hold the Key – Fix the Co-op Housing Crunch,” CHF Canada is requesting that the Canadian government invest in a long-term strategy to address the needs of co-op members who are seniors, new Canadians, aboriginal people or persons with mental and physical disabilities.

Current government funding and support, which CHF Canada Executive Director Nicholas Gazzard describes as a short-term solution, is set to expire.

“The government has taken a small, short-term step towards addressing this problem, and allowed Section 95 housing co-ops with money in their subsidy surplus fund to keep the money at the end of agreements,” says Gazzard. “But not many co-ops will be in that position, and it is not the lasting solution co-ops need.”

Through their campaign, CHF Canada is calling on the Government of Canada to develop and provide financial support for lasting, cost-shared rent supplement programs for vulnerable co-op housing members. The funding would be delivered in phases by provinces, territories, and Ontario municipalities.

“Co-ops will be faced with significant re-investment costs when their agreements expire,” says Gazzard. “They are ready to take on those costs and the new debt that will be required to restore aging infrastructure. We are asking the government to partner with the co-ops: we will take care of the buildings; governments must take care of the people.”

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